There’s a good chance that Thor: Ragnarok makes a cosmic superstar out of its hero… but his girlfriend, Jane Foster won’t be there to celebrate. Since the moment he first set foot on Earth, Jane has been by his side (literally), meaning plenty of Marvel fans hoped that if Ragnarok was giving Thor a fresh start, then his oft-criticized romance would get an upgrade as well. That assumption crumbled when Natalie Portman claimed her role was over, and further confirmation seemed to suggest that Jane was being pushed out for a different love interest: one who happened to hail from somewhere closer to Thor’s hometown.

When word first broke that Thor and his Asgardian corner of the MCU would be joined by Valkyrie, many assumed the warrior woman would be Thor’s “new love interest.” But just as many bristled at the assumption that an actress of Tessa Thompson’s abilities must be a potential romance for the god of thunder. As we learned during our visit to the Ragnarok set, Valkyrie is far more than ‘Thor’s new girlfriend’ – but fans will learn what happened to his old one.

The film’s overarching theme of pitting Thor against overwhelming odds will extend to Valkyrie as well. Not only due to their relationship beginning with ‘Val’ kidnapping Thor and turning him over to The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), but because her place in Asgardian history and military excellence far exceeds even the Odinson.

When we raised the question of Thor’s romantic partner during our visit to the Ragnarok set, the smile on star Chris Hemsworth’s face reflected his character’s amusement – especially now that we know meeting Valkyrie turns Thor into a total fanboy:

It’s like Thor’s meeting his hero! And he’s absolutely smitten by her and because of her history, and being a Valkyrie and all of that. But she’s also this beautiful woman so he’s kind of caught off guard. And she can, you know, she could beat the s*** out of him if she wanted. So I think he hasn’t come up against that very often.

It certainly wasn’t the case with Jane. There was a whole different affection and love there. So that was another, you know, ‘How can we make that different from the previous one?’

The fact that Thor encountering a beautiful woman who can beat him to a pulp amuses even Hemsworth should raise hopes for fans – even if it’s sure to stir up those in Lady Sif’s camp. And while they have a strong case, the time for arguing it has probably passed. Because as harsh as it may be for Lady Sif to hear that Thor has a new leading lady… it’s worse for Jane Foster.

Even if his words refer to the “love and affection” between Thor and the first human woman he met and (immediately) fell in love with, his use of the past tense is more revealing. Speaking with us not long after Natalie Portman claimed she was done with Thor, Hemsworth couldn’t help but smirk when referencing the solution he and Waititi had come up with:

So Thor is just over Jane now?
Umm, no we have this, we have some… some very respectable fun with how that relationship may have come to an end [laughs].

We’ll have to let imagination run wild on what that could mean, but the star’s assurance that Portman has been written out of the series “respectably” means it may simply be the product of his new cosmic role. That was the vague explanation offered by producer Kevin Feige as well, claiming that Ragnarok spent almost no time on Earth, making a Jane subplot infeasible. And as was revealed during our set visit, Thor has spent years since Ultron patroling the cosmos in pursuit of the Infinity Stones, Thanos, and the many universal threats that cropped up along the way. Needless to say, that would bring new meaning to ‘long distance relationship.’

So, are you happy to see Thor stand on his own as a champion of MCU’s cosmic universe? Do you hope to see him pair up with a Valkyrie who can put him in his place, or would you hope to see Jane Foster return in future films?